Federal health officials are warning restaurants and consumers not to eat, sell or serve recalled dried wood ear mushrooms linked to a multi-state salmonella outbreak.
The mushrooms — also known as dried black fungus or kikurage — were distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods Inc. under the Shirakiku label, and sold only to restaurants, not directly to consumers.
They were sold in six-packs of 5-pound bags of Shirakiku brand Black Fungus with Universal Product Code (UPC) bar code 00074410604305, item #60403, imported from China.
The Centers for Disease Control, regulatory officials and U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating the outbreak, which so far involves 41 reported cases of infection with Salmonella Stanley in 10 states and four hospitalizations.
The states listed include California, Arizona and New York City, but not Hawaii.
Four illness clusters were identified at restaurants serving ramen in three states.
Officials said consumers can ask restaurants where mushrooms are from before ordering to avoid eating recalled mushrooms. The wood ear mushrooms are also commonly referred to as Mu Er.
Officials are urging restaurant employees to check for recalled dried mushrooms and not serve or sell them. If unable to determine where the dried mushrooms are from, throw them away.
In addition, officials say all surfaces that the mushrooms have come into contact with, including cutting boards, countertops, utensils, and storage bins, should be cleaned and sanitized.
Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps six hours to six days after being exposed to the bacteria, according to CDC. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.
Some people, however, may need to be hospitalized. Children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
Anyone with symptoms of a Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider, write down what they ate the week before, and report the illness to the health department.